So often, we hear politicians + the media talk about workers needing more “graft”. This is a long-standing view that some do not ‘work hard’ + that’s why they remain in poverty. This includes migrants + racialised communities.
Stereotypes around race + class are used heavily in immigration debates: the idea that migrants are ‘lazy’, ‘scroungers’ or a drain on the State. Some migrant communities now also emphasise they are ‘hard-working’, wanting to distinguish themselves from others. But all this does is pit one group as more worthy against others.
We reject this idea.
All migrants are + have to be ‘hard-working’. Particularly when the systems are, by nature, rigged against them.
The ‘hard work’ for many migrants is to stay out of destitution + extreme poverty. With no recourse to public funds policies (NRPF), migrants can only rely on their wages to keep them afloat.
Historically, racialised communities were deemed to be ‘lazy’ + ‘uncivilised’ by their colonisers. It therefore makes sense that migrant communities would want to portray themselves as ‘hard-working’.
However, in order to counteract this, we must reject the narratives that divide people into ‘deserving’ or ‘undeserving’. By calling ourselves ‘hard-working’, we are repeating these narratives, not contesting them.
If you want to read about this in more detail, check out our blog post here.
To download this page as a graphic, click here.